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Homeschooling for NLD and Celiac Disease

Share Your Story: Have You Chosen Homeschooling for Your Child With Special Needs?

By Karen Joy

Child's Disability or Special Needs

My middle son has Nonverbal Learning Disorder. My youngest son has Celiac Disease and is anaphylactic to peanuts and dairy. My oldest daughter also has Celiac Disease.

Age/Grade of Child When You Switched to Homeschooling

From the start

How Long You've Been Homeschooling

We are currently in our 9th year.

Why Did You Choose Homeschooling?

I initially started homeschooling my oldest (who is neuro-typical). I expected to school him only for his kindergarten year, in order to give him a solid reading foundation, for when he started "real" school. However, that year was much more successful than I had anticipated, and I decided to continue. Unbeknownst to me at that time, my second child would be diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disorder (which our developmental pediatrician considers to be a high-functioning autism). Our ped encourages us to homeschool. Also, two of my other five children have celiac disease, and one has a severe peanut allergy.

How Are You Homeschooling?

We use Sonlight for reading, history, and geography. Teaching Textbooks for math. Easy Grammar and Spelling Power for English. For my oldest two, we use Apologia Science, and my youngest son does Sonlight Science. We use a smattering of other things, too. I am usually able to get school done for my oldest children (8th grade, 6th grade, 4th grade) within four hours each day. I am also doing a laid-back preschool program for my oldest daughter, who is 4 years old. It has been very effective. Though my state does not require testing for homeschooled students, this past spring, I had the Iowa Test of Basic Skills administered to my older three. The one who did the "poorest" tested a full year above his grade level, and my oldest two children both had a cumulative score of Past High School for all subjects.

Advice

  • In my earliest years, I used a curriculum package. This made my choices easy and gave clear direction. I also took advantage of the curriculum's online resources. The longer I homeschool, the more I am able to discern what works for my children and for myself, so I can make more individualized choices.
  • Many people find great help in local homeschool support groups. However, I was shocked with what I found: Lots of requirements from me, expensive dues, jockeying for leadership within the group, cliquishness. We now participate in a low-structure weekly group that is more like a playgroup, which we all enjoy.

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